God Made You to Be You – Jamie Ivey, Tana Fortner, and David Creighton-Pester

God Made You to Be You by Jamie Ivey, Tama Fortner, David Creighton-Pester
Also by this author: Complement: The Surprising Beauty of Choosing Together Over Separate in Marriage, Christmas Is Coming!, God, I Feel Scared: Bringing Big Emotions to a Bigger God, You Count: A Five-Senses Countdown to Calm
Published by B&H Publishing, B&H Kids on October 5, 2021
Genres: Children's
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Sammy the cactus is stuck—sticky stuck in the ground to be exact, with no way to move, run, or roam. Snake can slither. Hawk can soar. Jackrabbit can hop. But Sammy? He must stay rooted in one spot. This makes him sad, and he begins to wish he could be more like his desert friends.    But could there be a reason Sammy is planted in one place? In this fun, rhyming board book for children ages 2-6, Sammy discovers that God made him sticky stuck on purpose so that he can help his community of friends!    A story about learning the importance of being yourself, God Made You to Be You is sure to delight and encourage young readers with the reminder that God has a special purpose and plan for each of us!

I am always a stickler when it comes to books about being yourself. Many books with this theme are saccharine and derivative, and they typically elevate the reader’s feelings and desires above all else, without any sense of how the reader is a sinner or needs to grow. This can even be the case with Christian books, but since I have enjoyed Jamie Ivey’s work for adults in the past and respect this publisher’s offerings, I felt confident that this book would provide a better perspective. It definitely did, and is the best “be yourself!” book for kids that I have read.

God Made You to Be You stars Sammy, a cactus who struggles with comparison. He sees the freedom that his animal friends have to move around, and because he is stuck in the ground, he begins to think that he isn’t valuable and has nothing to offer. He imagines all of the ways that his life would be better if he were an animal, and the incredibly colorful, creative illustrations from David Creighton-Pester visualize the cactus in the shape of different animals. This was really cute and unique, and the story teaches kids about different animals commonly found in desert areas. Of course, Sammy’s friends all reassure him, explaining the role he plays in their lives as the cactus he is.

This book is very sweet and comforting. I love its underlying message about how we can find God’s purpose for us in community, and I appreciate the focus on accepting our limitations, since so many books with similar themes promote an entitled perspective towards fulfilling one’s dreams. This book is very cute and appealing, and I love the vivid illustrations, expressive text, and positive message towards finding one’s purpose where God has planted you.